New College Cheerleading Rules

The college cheerleading rules for 2016-17 have been published at , including a summary of changes at the end of the page.

There have been very few changes to the college rules for the past 4 or 5 years. Similar to changes at the high school level this year, the rules committee has made several changes to this year’s rules, which will allow new skills and more creativity at the college level.

As with all rules limitations, the most important safety element for teams is that they follow skill progressions for each stunt group and stay within their proper skill level before advancing to the next level.

By |June 24th, 2016|Newsroom, Safety

Cheerleading 5th Lowest Injury Rate of 22 High School Sports

Another study has come out that confirms what we have known for a long time, that cheerleading is actually one of the safer sports available to young people. In the January 2016 edition of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal PEDIATRICS, Dustin Currie, et al., state that using the last five years of data compiled by the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study (NHSSRIS), injury rates in cheerleading rank 18th out of 22 sports, with an overall injury rate of .71 injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures (AEs).

Concussion Rates Lower Than Other Sports

2009-14-cheer-concussion-comparisonIn addition to the low overall injury rate, the study shows that the concussion rates for cheerleaders “were significantly lower in cheerleading (2.2 per 10K AE) than all other sports combined (3.8) and all other girls’ sports (2.7).”  This information may come as a surprise to anyone who has been following cheerleading in the media, but not those who have been looking at actual data.

The results of this study support the results found in the two other published concussion studies that include cheerleading1,2, where cheerleading was tied with another sport for having the lowest concussion rate in the study.

Catastrophic Injuries Also Decline

2005-13-cheer-catastrophic-injuriesThis, combined with the dramatic 10-year decline in the number of catastrophic injuries in cheerleading3, should show that cheerleading is not the high risk activity that has been portrayed in recent years. Yes, there is risk involved in cheerleading, just as there is in basketball, softball, football, gymnastics, soccer, and any other sport available today. However, that risk is no greater on average than the other sports listed.

Additional Data Can Continue Advancements […]

By |December 10th, 2015|Newsroom, Safety

The Right Response to Youth Concussions

The New York Times is featuring an excellent series on concussions. Part 2 ran this week and it’s worth a read.

“As the number of youngsters who participate in organized sports grows and reports of concussions rise, it’s vital for parents, athletes and coaches to know how these injuries are properly diagnosed and treated to avoid long-lasting consequences. While preventing an injury is always best, limited progress has been made in keeping youngsters free of concussions in sports with a high risk of head injuries.”

Read the rest:

Last week’s installment can be found here:

By |September 1st, 2015|Newsroom, Safety, Uncategorized

CDC Releases New Concussion Safety App

The CDC Heads Up initiative has released a new concussion safety app, available for download. Designed for parents and coaches, the HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app provides instant access to concussion safety info—when and where you need it—so you can:

  • Spot a possible concussion.
  • Respond if you think an athlete has a concussion or other serious brain injury.
  • Help an athlete return to school and play safely.

Featuring: A new 3D helmet fit feature that teaches about proper helmet fit, safety and care.

For more information, visit: CDC Heads Up New Concussion Safety App

By |July 13th, 2015|Newsroom, Safety

Strong wrists for cheerleading stunts

By Jaimie Doherty MSEd, ATC, NREMT-b, CKTP

During my career working with cheerleaders, I see a lot of bases that believe taping their wrist makes their wrists stronger.  But it’s actually doing the opposite. Taping your wrists is like putting a cast on them, and when someone has a cast on, their muscles are restricted from movement, making the muscles not have to work. Therefore, you end up losing muscle mass and strength, resulting in having to rely on tape to hold your stunt.

So instead of reaching for the tape (unless you have an new injury), think about these ways you can make your wrists stronger.

  • Start sitting in a chair with your forearm flat on the table, with your hand in a loose fist. These next exercises are going to be repeated for all range of motion of the wrist. Try to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.  Remember, some people may need to start with fewer repetitions if they are getting sore in their forearms.  The strength that everyone starts with is different, so listen to your body.  You will perform these exercises with one wrist at a time.
    • Start with palm facing down, hand is loose fist. The first motion you are going to work is wrist extension. Without moving your forearm, you are going to extend or lift your hand towards the ceiling.  Then bring your hand back down towards the floor.  This is one repetition.
    • The next motion you are going to work is ulnar deviation. Rotate your arm so your pinky is facing the ceiling, hand still in loose fist. The side of your forearm still on the table. Without moving your forearm, you are going to lift your hand with the pinky […]
By |April 7th, 2015|Newsroom, Safety

National Cheerleading Safety Month Resolution Introduced in the House Of Representatives   

Leaders in cheerleading safety recognized in Congressional resolution to recognize March as National Cheerleading Safety Month.

Memphis, Tenn., March 31, 2015 – On March 26, Representative Marc Veasey of Texas introduced HR Resolution 175, supporting the designation of March as National Cheerleading Safety Month. USA Cheer, along with several partner organizations, was cited in the resolution for its accomplishments in efforts to reduce cheerleading injuries.

The resolution highlights the ongoing efforts to reduce injuries among cheerleaders and the positive results being achieved by USA Cheer, the United States All Star Federation for Cheer and Dance Teams (USASF), American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), and CheerSafe, the online source for safety information, cheerleading rules and regulation updates.

Cited in the Resolution was the concerted safety effort that led to a drop in injuries each year for the approximately 3.6 million cheerleaders currently active today.  Other accomplishments cited were:

  • a major reduction in injuries, thanks to increased regulation and coaches training in the four years that cheerleading has been included in the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, resulting in cheerleading consistently being between 16th and 17th for overall injury rates
  • according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s NEISS reporting system, cheerleading emergency visits are now low compared to several other girls’ sports, resulting in fewer emergency room visits in 2011 than girls’ basketball, soccer or softball
  • the CheerSafe initiative which was started through a partnership between USA Cheer, USASF, AACCA and other cheerleading organizations to raise awareness, prevent injuries and increase overall safety for cheerleaders at every level

Throughout the month of March, CheerSafe posted new content on its website,, posted daily on social media sites, and shared content with its partners in the community.

“Our mission with National […]

By |April 1st, 2015|Newsroom, Safety

Creating a Cheerleading Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

by Shannon David, PhD, ATC, LAT

One of the best preventative measures that can be taken to ensure athlete safety is to be prepared. Developing a well thought out emergency action plan is a critical component to the survival of both athletes and spectators. The purpose of an emergency action plan is to maintain cardiovascular function (Prentice, 2014). In addition, the staff needs to consider the safest method of removing the athlete from the field of play, as well as, the urgency of which the patient is referred (Starkey, 2010). Each of these tasks can be accomplished efficiently when everyone involved knows their role and responsibilities when emergency strikes.

Any facility that hosts events or practices to athletes should have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) prepared. Here are a few tips for key points that should be included in your Emergency Action Plan. The first tip is to keep in mind is communication. Establish an effective mode to contact EMS. If the cheerleaders are at a Friday night football game, chances are the EMS will be on site but if they are not what phone will be used to contact them? In a world full of technology, most will choose to use a cell phone. It is important to make sure that the cell phone has service in that area and that it is fully charged. It is never a bad idea to have backup or a landline in case. It is not uncommon for landlines to have need a code to call out, so be sure you know in advance if you need to press “9” then the phone number for example. The next big question is, “Who is going to call 911?”

Each person […]

Safety First: A Parent’s Guide to Cheerleading Safety

Safety First!

Is your child part of a safe cheerleading program? 

By Karen M. Lew

Are you sure your child is enrolled in the appropriate cheerleading program? How do you know if your child is being taught by qualified individuals? Is the gym actively involved in reducing injuries, providing a positive yet competitive environment and – most importantly – are they committed to the ongoing safety of your child?

If you have some doubts or have not done the necessary research to assure your child is safe, now is the time to do it.

Over the past several years cheerleading has changed, becoming more skill oriented, competitive and focused on talent, but one thing that has not changed is the need for the program to have value to your child and provide a safe environment.

In order to keep your child safe, take the time to review your child’s coaches, team and gym.

Direct supervision and practicing with a coach present is a must. Injuries often occur when cheerleaders are not being properly supervised or begin attempting skills without following the correct progression.

Follow these safety tips, recommended by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), to help keep your cheerleaders safe:

  • Required safety training for all coaches, including Sports First Aid, CPR and AED training.
  • Access to certified athletic trainers to assist with injury prevention and emergency procedures.
  • Adherence to recognized safety rules such as the AACCA, NFHS or U.S. All-Star Federation Rules.
  • Regulation by state school athletics/activities associations to require adherence to rules and safety training regardless of whether cheerleading is designated as a “sport” or “activity.”
  • Recognition by coaches, cheerleaders and parents that the use of skill progressions and the demonstrated ability to safely perform basic skills before advancing is the key […]

Fueling for a Safe Cheerleading Performance

By Karen M. Lew, MEd., ATC, LAT

Are you or your team preparing for competition season?  As you begin the preparation, be sure to include a plan for appropriate nutrition.  The nutritional habits of a cheerleader can make or break their performance.  Nutrition and strength and conditioning work together to help the athlete become well rounded.  In today’s society, eating appropriately is difficult but I refer to the body as a brand new car.  When you purchase a brand new car that requires high octane gas, you will not put diesel in it.  It is the same thing for an athlete preparing for a competition or performance.  The optimal diet would be to eliminate any fast food, foods that are high in fat, junk food, or food that does not offer nutritious value.  The best philosophy to use is moderation and regardless of your situation and surroundings, it is making wise decisions that make a difference.

Athletes are often busy and on the run.  Just as you plan out practices, strength and conditioning, I encourage all athletes to plan out their diet in advance.  Optimizing athletic performance using proper nutrition is essential.  According to Tavis Piatoly, RD, nutrition can be an athlete’s secret weapon by following four simple tips:

  • Develop a habit of eating frequently and planning out snacks and meals.
  • The slogan “Breakfast of Champions” is not a joke; breakfast is the basis of your day and the fuel you need to get your day started. Make time for a healthy breakfast, since your body has typically been without food for 10 or more hours and needs some energy to get going.  If you skip breakfast, it increases your chances of overeating later in the day. Planning […]
By |March 17th, 2015|Newsroom, Safety

Building on Balance: Ankle Stability

Ankle stability is important for all athletes, especially top girls. To be able to stand with one foot on the ground is one thing. But to be able to hold a stunt in the air by a partner/partners takes balancing to a whole new level. Building up the neuromuscular strength in your ankle is key.

Start by taking these small steps to improve single leg balance. You can start by standing on one leg while brushing your teeth or hair. Brushing your teeth and hair is something we all do at least once or twice a day and will also not take any more time out of your day. Try holding for 15-20 seconds, building on this simple balance task. Once you have mastered it the next step would be to balance on one leg while standing on a folded towel or pillow, creating an uneven surface. Once that step is mastered, try balancing with your eyes closed, on solid ground first. Then moving to an uneven surface with eyes closed. But always remember safety first if you ever feel like you are going to fall, stop, open your eyes, put your opposite foot down and regain control of your balance.

As we all know a goal of a top girl is to be able to do a series of stunts while in the air. There are a few ways to take balancing to the next level:

• Single leg ball pick ups- this helps if you have a prop like a small ball, pen or 5lb weight to pick up off the ground. To start stand on one foot, with prop slightly in front of you on the ground. You are going to bend at the hips […]